The Miaoli County Government held its annual Indigenous Language Drama Competition at the Toufen Township Office’s Zhongshan Hall on Oct. 17. The contest included separate divisions for families, students and adults. Students from Donghe Elementary School in Miaoli’s Nanzhuang Township won the student division, while the Saisiat Culture and Art Promotion Association won the adult division. The two groups will represent Miaoli next year at the National Indigenous Language Drama Competition.
On the day of the competition there were also contests for choral singing, recitation and speeches. The competition included both the Atayal and Saisiat languages. Around 500 people participated in the competition, the youngest contestant being six years old and the oldest 79. Miaoli Deputy Commissioner Lin Chiu-hsiang was present at the awards ceremony to hand out awards, taking the opportunity to thank Chang Hsiu-ya, president of the Aboriginal division of one of Rotary International’s Taipei districts, and entrepreneur Lin Pai-ken for their financial contributions to the county government.
Chao Shan-lin, a member of the Council of Indigenous Peoples under the Executive Yuan, said that he hopes the drama competition can attract people from the older, middle-aged, and younger generations, and that they can use drama as a dialogue to pass on the values of their respective tribes, instead of simply memorizing scripts. Groups participating in the contest this year showed a better understanding of how dramas should be performed, with less singing and dancing, Chao says.
Liao Chien-chang, an instructor at Donghe Elementary, says that the play the students performed was a Saisiat legend, and that they spent about six months preparing it during their tribal education class, which is divided into drama and language sections. The Aboriginal students gained a lot from performing in the competition and enjoyed learning how to speak and sing in their native language, he says.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)